that's life (Australia)
My cat needs sunnies!
Karen McGill, 53, has a kitty who’s proud to be di erent
Strolling through the rescue centre, my heart burst as we passed all the gorgeous cats.
‘There are so many,’ I said to my daughter, Sorrelle, 18.
She’d been through a bad break-up, so I was getting her a cat to cheer her up.
Passionate about animals, we always adopted our pets from rescue shelters – so many kitties and pooches needed a fur-ever home.
As we peered through the pen at some kittens, a tiny grey and white one stuck her paw out at us.
‘She’s the one!’ I said to Sorrelle.
She looked friendly, and was cross-eyed which made my heart go out to her.
Within the hour, we were taking her home.
‘I’m going to name her Bagel,’ Sorrelle said.
Bagel moved in with Sorrelle but in just days, the poor puss became very sick.
Underweight, she needed care around the clock – which Sorrelle couldn’t do as she was studying.
‘I’ll look after her,’ I said. I took Bagel everywhere with me – feeding her with a teaspoon every half an hour.
After weeks of care, she started getting stronger.
We were always together and, if I did ever leave her alone, she got separation anxiety and cried for me.
Sometimes I’d walk her on a leash, but the majority of the time I just held her in my arms.
One day, I was volunteering at a local cat rescue organisation and had taken Bagel along.
Another volunteer saw my kitty and said, ‘I think she has a problem with her eyes. I’ve seen this with other cats.’
So we went to an eye specialist the next day.
‘She doesn’t have any eyelids and can’t develop tears – it means she could go blind,’ the vet explained. My heart dropped.
Poor sweet Bagel!
‘How can we help her?’ I asked.
The vet prescribed eyedrops and said that
Bagel would need an op to freeze her eyelash follicles.
‘This will stop them growing, which is crucial as they could scratch her cornea and make her blind,’ he added.
Bagel had the op, which was meant to last for seven years, but within months, her eyelashes were growing back.
Despite having the procedure two more times, it failed to work on her.
So, I carefully started plucking out the lashes with tweezers.
Lying on her back, Bagel wrapped her paws around my wrist and patiently let me remove them.
Her eyes still caused problems, though.
We lived on a boat, and near our mooring, she would get sand and grit stuck in her eyes, as she couldn’t blink it out.
That’s when I came up with the idea of getting Bagel her very own sunnies!
I found a specialist who created a pair of shades that perfectly
tted my moggy.
They’re functional, but look a bit plain, I thought.
Deciding to get creative, I popped into a craft shop and bought some clear crystals, which I stuck along the top frame.
They were paw-fect!
But putting them on Bagel’s face, she wasn’t
keen at rst.
fab in her funky outfits and matching
Seeming confused, she pawed them off.
One day, sand blew into her face just after she’d removed the sunnies.
‘You need to put them on,’ I said to her, placing them back over her eyes.
It was like she nally understood me, as from then on Bagel happily wore her shades.
Buying more cat sunnies for Bagel, I started blinging up every pair with different colours and shapes.
People loved seeing a cat in sunglasses and often stopped to take a photo.
Seeing how much joy Bagel was bringing, I set up an Instagram account, @sunglasscat.
Every time she wore a new pair of shades, I’d take a snap and share it on her account.
Bagel also had a condition which meant she couldn’t regulate her body temperature, so I started dressing her in adorable get-ups.
Whether it was a cute dress, uffy jumper or Halloween-themed costume, Bagel always looked fab in her funky out ts and matching sunglasses.
Slowly, her followers racked up, but I couldn’t believe it when we hit 100,000!
We suddenly had fans sending her mail with cat treats and toys.
And we even started doing meet-and-greets, where fellow feline lovers queued up to meet Bagel and have a photo with her.
‘I can’t believe it,’ Sorrelle gushed, proudly.
Bagel lapped up the attention, embracing her inner diva.
Recently, I counted that Bagel had a whopping 600 pairs of shades!
It may seem crazy to some, but she deserves every single pair.
Nowadays, Bagel has more than 660,000 followers on Instagram.
As well as spreading cheer with her cuteness, she has an important message to share with the world about being different.
Bagel embraces and accepts her difference – it’s what makes her special.
Before the pandemic, we went to schools to inspire kids to embrace themselves.
I want to encourage people getting a pet to adopt and think about animals with a disability.
There are heaps of pets just like Bagel, who want nothing more than a warm, loving home.
If I hadn’t adopted Bagel, she probably would have been put to sleep.
I can’t imagine life without my magical moggy.
I truly believe she’s here to bring paws-itivity to everyone! ●